I've kept a bottle of Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ($16) close by for years. Growing up with severe eczema, I relied on this all-natural oil to soothe my inflamed, dry skin and haven't been able to put it down since. I also love slathering it on my lips at night (especially in the winter) and waking up to a supple, smooth pout.
There's a specific way to apply coconut oil to your hair strands to get it to work best, though. We called on Nunzio Saviano, owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in NYC, to fill us in on the tricks for applying coconut oil to hair. You're going to want to know this for the next time your locks need a re-up.
How to Effectively Apply Coconut Oil to Your Hair
Saviano recommends against using coconut oil in the morning because it takes time to soak up, and your hair can end up looking greasy. "The best time to use coconut oil is at night, and it works best on dry hair," Saviano says. "I recommend warming the coconut oil so it becomes liquified and rubbing it in your hands to lather on the ends of your hair. You want the coconut oil to be warm (not hot) to open the hair cuticles, which allows the molecules to penetrate the hair."
It's best to part your hair and apply the coconut oil in manageable sections to be sure that every hair is coated. Apply more coconut oil to wherever your strands are the driest and most damaged (typically on the ends) and less where your hair is healthiest (mid-shaft and scalp area). If your hair is thin or gets greasy easily, you can skip the scalp so the oil doesn't weigh your hair down.
Allow the coconut oil to sit on your hair for 20 to 30 minutes after application.
If your hair is very dry or porous, you can leave it on longer; some people like to use it as an overnight treatment. To increase its effectiveness, cover your hair with a shower cap, and wrap it up in a hot towel fresh from the dryer or apply heat with a hairdryer for a few minutes to open up the cuticle and help the oil penetrate deeper into the strands.
If using the coconut oil as a hair mask, you'll need to thoroughly rinse the oil out of your hair after the treatment, which might take a couple of wash- rinse cycles. For best results, you'll need to experiment with the amount of coconut oil you use and how long to allow the oil to penetrate. If the coconut oil leaves your hair feeling weighed down or greasy, try using less of it or shampooing more at the end of your treatment.
But a mask isn't the only way to apply coconut oil to your hair. You can work a very small amount of it into the ends of your hair after showering as a detangler or daily moisturizer for very dry hair. My favorite thing to do is to use coconut oil as a refresher. On day two or three of my curly styles when I don't have time to start all over with wash day, I lather a generous amount from root to tip of my curls. The shine and hydration factor is next-level.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Your Hair
In other words, you should keep coconut oil around because it'll gift you with soft, shiny strands and salvage hair damage. Here are a few of our favorite organic coconut oil products that'll do right by your hair.
Our Favorite Coconut Oil Products for Hair
- Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ($16)
- OGX Quenching Coconut Curls Shampoo ($8)
- Nutiva Organic, Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil ($8)
- Kopari Beauty Coconut Melt ($28)
- Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Curl Milk ($6)
- Shea Moisture 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ($11)